From diversity and hybridity to equality and uniformity in implementation of regional planning strategies, RPS, in Norway

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This paper is built on institutional theory and strategic planning theory, in order to grasp the two main questions: (1) How is the Regional Planning Strategy (RPS) as a new tool in the Planning and Building Act (PBA) understood and implemented in practice, and consequently how is this implementation to be understood as an institutional change of the regional planning system? (2) How is the strategic orientation understood and implemented? Strategic regional planning is institutionalized into the Norwegian planning system in a new two-step model: (a) regional planning strategy (RPS) and (b) various types of regional (strategic) planning tailored to each individual regional challenge. The basis for our analysis is a study of the implementation of the RPS in all Norwegian counties. We find that the translation, contextualization and re-contextualization of the PBA regarding how to implement the RPS is clearly diverse in 2011/12, the first time they make such documents. Even a hierarchical mode of implementation of a new element in the PBA seems to enjoy great freedom in terms of translation and re-contextualization between tiers. The implementation praxis of both central and regional government level contributes to the hybridity of the planning system by (a) the already established side-by side logics of negotiated policy development in a networked governance system and a planning authority and government logic of decision-making, and (b) by the main re-contextualization of the RPS from a planning strategy to a plan. However, the second time, in the beginning of the next election period, the variation has disappeared. The professional and political ambition or competence to oppose, to choose their own way to make RPS, seems to have disappeared.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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